BOMB: Explosion caused pipeline leak, EnCana says
COMMENT: Despite a half million dollar reward from EnCana, a tips line, and 200 officers and agents on the case, the RCMP are no closer to the culprit(s) in these acts of sabotage. This last looks suspicious too - but EnCana wouldn't hide its own operational safety shortcomings behind the vandalism smokescreen. Would it?
RCMP officers on their way to northern B.C. to look into leak not far from site of four earlier bombings
A spokeswoman for EnCana says a gas leak in northern B.C., not far from the site of four pipeline bombings, appears to have been caused by an explosion.
The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team has been called to Pouce Creek, B.C., near Dawson Creek, to investigate after a gas leak was first reported Wednesday morning.
“It appears that there may have been some type of explosion at this site,” said EnCana's Rhona DelFrari.
“Based on the previous incidents that have happened, we've called in the RCMP.”
There have been four bombings at EnCana pipelines since October. More than 200 investigators have been on the case, spanning B.C., Alberta, central and eastern Canada and the U.S., but no charges have been laid.
When asked what led the company to believe this most recent incident was the cause of an explosion, Ms. DelFrari said, “The vandalism or the damage that was done to this well indicates that it may have been something that exploded there to cause the leak.”
The explosion took place in a remote area and Ms. DelFrari said the leak is relatively minor. The nearest residence is more than three kilometres away from the site. RCMP and EnCana staff have secured and contained the area.
The leak was first noticed by an Encana employee Wednesday morning. The employee was doing a routine check when he noticed damage at an EnCana wellhead, as well as a drop in pressure.
Ms. DelFrari said the latest blast is frustrating.
“Nobody has been injured [in any of the bombings] but we never know what could happen if this continues in the future,” she said.
“So it's very stressful for residents in the area and for EnCana employees and we really hope that if this was caused by someone, that this person realizes that this is dangerous and that it stop.”
RCMP have thus far said little about the incident.
Corporal Dan Moskaluk said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that a determination is still being made whether this leak is related to the four earlier bombings.
Cpl. Moskaluk did not return calls seeking comment.
Last month, RCMP determined a June 11 explosion in a garbage can near Pouce Coupe was not linked to the bombings.
At that time, RCMP spokesman Sergeant Tim Shields said investigators have also been unable to determine if 85 sticks of an explosive and 24 blasting caps stolen from a drilling site near Chetwynd, B.C., last summer were used during the explosions.
Shields said investigators are still seeking tips and reminded the public that EnCana is offering a $500,000 reward for information in the case.
In January, a metering shed near the community of Tomslake was damaged by a blast, only 250 metres away from the nearest residence.
The first three explosions last October involved pipelines or wellheads carrying sour gas, which contains toxic hydrogen sulphide.
Mounties hit a dead end after identifying and ruling out eight people spotted on video surveillance in a store with a postal outlet on the same day a threatening letter was mailed.
The letter was sent to local media and EnCana, calling oil and gas companies, and EnCana in particular, “terrorists” and demanding the company stop natural gas operations in northeastern B.C.
B.C. pipeline leak may have been caused by blast: EnCanaBy Laura Drake
July 1, 2009
EDMONTON — After months of quiet, northeastern British Columbia has been rocked by what appears to be another explosion at a natural gas pipeline.
“There’s preliminary indications there may have been an explosion,” said EnCana spokesman Alan Boras Wednesday.
“This appears to have some similarities to the previous incidents, that’s why the RCMP have been called in.”
An EnCana employee discovered the leak at a wellhead near Pouce Coupe early Wednesday morning after noticing a drop in pipeline pressure.
The RCMP’s anti-terrorism unit, the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, was dispatched to the scene. Investigators have not yet positively determined whether the leak was deliberately caused.
Boras said the line carried sweet, not sour, gas, so there was none of the dangerous hydrogen sulphide chemical present. However, he said, it is extremely flammable and does require careful handling. He added that it was discovered during a routine check, so it probably happened overnight Tuesday.
The company notified police and the area was secured.
Police have been searching for the people responsible for explosions targeting EnCana’s sour gas facilities in the area. The attacks began in mid-October, around the same time a letter was sent to EnCana from an anonymous person telling them to get out of the area. There were four explosions after that, with each successive bombing getting closer to populated areas around the Tomslake community.
The most recent explosion occurred on Jan. 4 when a bomb blew apart the wall of a shed housing a sour-gas pipe.
Police have labelled the attacks “increasingly violent,” although no one has yet been injured.
Boras said there’s no way to tell if the most recent leak is related to the others.
“It would be speculative to make any assessment like that. It will require the work of the police force to determine whether or not that’s the case,” he said.
He also said there has been no communication from anyone claiming responsibility for the attacks since the original letter.
Pouce Coupe is about 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journa